SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE
TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
N A T I O N

BJP does a U-turn on Telangana 
New Delhi, December 11
Sensing a hostile mood developing among the non-Telangana settlers of Hyderabad over the decision to grant statehood to Telangana, the BJP has started discreetly distancing itself from loudly welcoming the decision yesterday to questioning Congress-led UPA government’s wisdom in rushing through the announcement, without paying heed to the consequences.

US hopes to wind up nuke deal soon
Pact strategic win-win for India, Washington: Roemer
New Delhi, December 11
The United States today expressed the hope of completing the landmark nuclear agreement with India soon, describing the historic pact as a “strategic win-win for both countries”.

Govt to curb circulation of fake currency
JV mill to produce indigenous security paper for notes
New Delhi, December 11
The Centre Government today said it was taking all possible steps to counter the growing menace of counterfeit currency in the country and the Reserve Bank of India would consider withdrawal of the 2000 series of Rs 1,000 notes at an appropriate time.

Ruckus in LS over move to privatise AIIMS
New Delhi, December 11
Concerns over privatisation of AIIMS raised a storm in the Lok Sabha during question hour today, with the Opposition doubting government’s intent on the matter.

Missing Coast Guard sailors rescued
New Delhi, December 11
The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have rescued two Coast Guard sailors in a joint operation, who had been held captive by two Sri Lankan fishermen in their boat since Wednesday.On Tuesday, Coast Guard ships Priyadarshini and Saragn apprehended seven Sri Lankan fishing vessels poaching in Indian waters. 


Cherie Blair, wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, at a women’s conference in Mumbai
Cherie Blair, wife of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, at a women’s conference in Mumbai on Friday. — PTI


EARLIER STORIES

63 pc decline in LS sittings since 1958
New Delhi, December 11
The government yesterday admitted that the sittings of the Lower House had declined drastically over the past years. In 1958, the Lok Sabha saw 125 sittings whereas the Rajya Sabha had nine sittings. Last year, however, both the Houses sat for just 46 days, representing a decline of 63 per cent for the Lok Sabha and nearly 50 per cent for the Rajya Sabha.

Parliament to sit for 21 days this winter
New Delhi, December 11
The Winter Session of Parliament is scheduled to conclude on December 18, according to sources. The session which commenced on November 18 was initially slated to last till December 21. But since December 21 is Monday and the members would have to come back to Delhi from their respective constituencies for just one-day, the session would conclude on December 18 itself which happens to be a Friday.

New Guv for West Bengal, Punjab still waiting 
New Delhi, December 11  Bihar Governor Devenand Konwar will hold additional charge of Governor of West Bengal from December 14. An order to make an interim arrangement, pending regular appointment, was made around 8 p.m. tonight though West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi’s term ends on December 13. 

No heritage status for Amritsar: Govt 
New Delhi, December 11 The government today drew flak in the Lok Sabha for denying heritage city status to Amritsar on grounds that its population was less than one million, the cut off for classifying a city as “mission”. The government also said there was no provision in the Urban Development Ministry to call a city “heritage”. 

Who will teach in new varsities? 
Chandigarh, December 11
Shortage of faculty to the tune of 20 per cent in Central universities has raised a question mark over the availability of staff for the 30 proposed “world-class” universities. Terming the dearth of faculty as a matter of concern, the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Human Resources Development pointed out that it was doubtful about the availability of faculty in the Central universities.

Bloodshed if Vidarbha gets go-ahead, warns Sena
Mumbai, December 11
The Shiv Sena has warned of bloodshed if the supporters of Vidarbha manage to have their way and carve the region out of Maharashtra.

R’sthan shifts top cop over scam allegations
Jaipur, December 11
The state government has shifted Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Rajasthan police MK Devrajan, who is facing a CBI probe in an alleged land scam, to the police training department as the DG.

Rs 98-cr aid for Assam riot victims
Guwahati, December 11
The Assam government today announced Rs 98 crore rehabilitation package for victims of ethnic violence of 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998 lodged in various relief camps in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Baska districts of the state.

Gogoi against Assam’s division
Guwahati, December 11 Even as the Centre’s proposal to create a Telengana state has fuelled statehood demands of various ethnic groups, including the Bodo, the Dimasa, the Karbi, the Koch-Rajbongshi, the Assam government today said it was not in favour of further division of the state.

GJM activists begin indefinite hunger strike
Kolkata, December 11  Enthused by the success of Telengana agitators, over 120 workers and supporters of the Gorkha Janmurti Morcha (GJM) today began an indefinite hunger strike in four batches in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Siliguri. Hundreds of visitors scrambled to leave the tourist resort of Darjeeling today as pro-Gorkhaland activists took out rallies.

Gyanendra attends wedding in Orissa
Bhubaneswar, December 11
Nepal's former King Gyanendra Shah attended a marriage of the son of a minister in the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa last night.






Top

























 

BJP does a U-turn on Telangana 
Faraz Ahmad and Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Sensing a hostile mood developing among the non-Telangana settlers of Hyderabad over the decision to grant statehood to Telangana, the BJP has started discreetly distancing itself from loudly welcoming the decision yesterday to questioning Congress-led UPA government’s wisdom in rushing through the announcement, without paying heed to the consequences.

Airing its disaffection with the government over the Telangana issue, former BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu accused it in the Rajya Sabha today of making the announcement without consulting other political parties and preparing a roadmap.

He also called upon the government to explain the status of Hyderabad, and whether it will remain with Andhra Pradesh or go with Telangana.

Naidu described the present situation in Andhra Pradesh, specially the current agitation against the division of Andhra Pradesh as “painful” and warned the government not to allow it to deteriorate any further and said: “Don’t allow it to be messed up further. We do not want to complicate the matter,” he said.

He pointed out how students opposed to Telangana are also out on the streets adding that there are aspirations of other regions also. The BJP leader also mentioned the contradictions between Home Minister P. Chidambram’s unqualified announcement for the creation of the new state, to Andhra Chief Minister K Rosaiah’s assertion that there will be no decision till there is a consensus.

This is clearly a subtle shift from welcoming the decision yesterday. Then he also proclaimed how the BJP was the original promoter of Telangana.

While complimenting the decision yesterday he said: “Though late, the BJP welcomes the decision,” adding that the BJP has all along favoured the creation of small states and stated how it created Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh when the NDA Government ruled the nation.

Asked why it did not create Telangana then he pleaded that the BJP was merely held back because its then ally the TDP was opposed to it.

But like the Congress, the BJP too is caught in a dilemma. On the one hand whatever little presence it has in Andhra Pradesh is largely restricted to Telangana region, with hardly virtually no presence in Coastal Andhra and Rayalseema. On the other its base is even more limited to just the Hyderabad-Secundrabad metropolis, with a good majority of its voters consisting of non-Telangana settlers in the metropolis. That is what seems to have persuaded Naidu to mention the anti-Telangana street protests in the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secundrabad

Besides the only time the BJP won any mentionable number of seats in Andhra Pradesh outside the metropolis was when it aligned with the TDP in 1999 and because of this alliance got significant number of anti-Telangana votes in Telangana region, though all the four seats it won were from Telangana only.

The TDP was then openly and pronouncedly opposed to the creation of Telangana state and though in the last general election, the TDP capitulated and agreed to Telangana, its core constituency is still dead opposed to Telangana and whenever the BJP aspires to extend its influence beyond the metropolis it will have to align with the TDP. 

Top

 

US hopes to wind up nuke deal soon
Pact strategic win-win for India, Washington: Roemer
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The United States today expressed the hope of completing the landmark nuclear agreement with India soon, describing the historic pact as a “strategic win-win for both countries”.

Welcoming the visit of a high-profile delegation of the top US nuclear companies to India, US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer said it underscored the commitment US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made in Washington for the two countries to “realise the full potential and aspirations of landmark civilian nuclear agreement”.

His statement came amid reports that top officials of the two countries were busy finalising the reprocessing pact. Linking the nuclear pact with the ongoing international climate change negotiations, Roemer stressed that this agreement would “lead to the development of important clean energy alternatives and greater access to affordable energy for the people of India, while creating jobs and economic opportunities for the citizens of both our countries”.

“It is a strategic win-win for both countries,” he underlined, while calling for the cementing of “a global and enduring partnership” between the two countries.

GE Hitachi and Westinghouse were among top American nuclear engineering companies from the US who visited India this week and held talks with top Indian nuclear officials and companies.

The two sides were close to clinching a pact on reprocessing spent fuel during Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington last month, but could not do so due to minor differences in the language of the text. They are trying to bridge the differences and are expected to finalise the pact soon.

Top

 

Govt to curb circulation of fake currency
JV mill to produce indigenous security paper for notes
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The Centre Government today said it was taking all possible steps to counter the growing menace of counterfeit currency in the country and the Reserve Bank of India would consider withdrawal of the 2000 series of Rs 1,000 notes at an appropriate time.

In another significant development, the government has initiated the process of establishing the joint venture paper mill for indigenous production of security paper and machinery for currency notes. A venture between Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India and Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Murdan has been started with 50: 50 equity holdings.

Accepting nine out of the 10 recommendations of the Standing Committee on Finance, which warned the government to “come to grips with the magnitude of the fake currency problem”, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today informed the Lok Sabha that the RBI had - as suggested by the committee - stepped up inspection of currency chests in sensitive areas in terms of both frequency and intensity.

The bank is also soon going to introduce quality checks for inspection of currency chests based on their risk profile. Most importantly, the RBI has equipped all current chests with note sorting machines to detect counterfeit notes.

The committee, in its 79th report submitted recently to Parliament, reminded the government of how most of the counterfeit notes seized by the enforcement agencies pertained to 1996 and 2000 series - a fact the government has taken note of, along with the observation of high rate of counterfeit currency detection at the Domariaganj branch of the State Bank of India.

A high-level group to review the whole gamut of currency management has recently submitted a report to the RBI, which is considering it implementation, Pranab said in the Action Taken Report on the committee’s recommendations tabled today. The committee in its report has also raised serious concerns over the difference between the number of soiled notes coming back to the RBI system and the number of new notes that are being issued.

The FM, however, declined to accept one recommendation of the committee. It pertained to the constitution of a nodal group to detect and seize fake currency. “In context of the seizures of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes at the Domariaganj branch of SBI, we noted that various ministries and departments were monitoring the situation. To avoid such multiplicity of management, we suggest a nodal group.”

Top

 

Ruckus in LS over move to privatise AIIMS
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Concerns over privatisation of AIIMS raised a storm in the Lok Sabha during question hour today, with the Opposition doubting government’s intent on the matter.

Taking strong objection to health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s comment that in-principle acceptance had been granted to a Veliathan committee recommendation to set up a non-profit body called AIIMS International which would work for global partnerships, BJP and JDU members slammed the move to privatise AIIMS 
at a time when most poor in the country were going unattended.

The MPs were anxious over the Veliathan panel recommendations that talk of empanelling people from the Assocham and Ficci on the AIIMS governing body. However, Azad assured them there was no question of privatising AIIMS.

“The panel did talk of privatisation and we discussed the matter in the AIIMS academic committee, governing committee and institute body. Because of the move about privatisation, we kept the decision pending for the future. AIIMS is a hospital for the poor and will remain so,” the health minister said, only to be confronted by members including CPM’s Basudeb Acharia, JDU’s Rajiv Lallan Singh and Sharad Yadav, who said consensus on “future consideration of the move” was serious enough.

Top

 

Missing Coast Guard sailors rescued
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The Indian Navy and Coast Guard have rescued two Coast Guard sailors in a joint operation, who had been held captive by two Sri Lankan fishermen in their boat since Wednesday.On Tuesday, Coast Guard ships Priyadarshini and Saragn apprehended seven Sri Lankan fishing vessels poaching in Indian waters. The trawlers had been found indulging in illegal fishing some 160 nautical miles south-east of Vishakapatnam. “As per standard practice, two Coast Guard personnel were put on the Sri Lankan boat Win Marine along with the two Lankan fishermen while towing to Vishakapatnam (on Wednesday),” Coast Guard spokesperson Commandant Kulpreet Yadav told over the phone.With the help of long knives, two fishermen overpowered the Coast Guard officials, taking them by surprise and slipped away.

Realising that one trawler was missing with two Indian security personnel, the Navy and Coast Guard jointly initiated a search operation on Thursday. 

Top

 

63 pc decline in LS sittings since 1958
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The government yesterday admitted that the sittings of the Lower House had declined drastically over the past years. In 1958, the Lok Sabha saw 125 sittings whereas the Rajya Sabha had nine sittings. Last year, however, both the Houses sat for just 46 days, representing a decline of 63 per cent for the Lok Sabha and nearly 50 per cent for the Rajya Sabha.

On a question from Shivanand Tiwari, whether the sittings of the Indian Parliament were lesser than that of the parliaments of other nations, the government said, the sittings varied depending on the requirements, specific to the needs of different countries.

“It would not be appropriate to compare the sittings of Parliament of India with that of other democratic countries,” said the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.

Top

 

Parliament to sit for 21 days this winter

New Delhi, December 11
The Winter Session of Parliament is scheduled to conclude on December 18, according to sources. The session which commenced on November 18 was initially slated to last till December 21. But since December 21 is Monday and the members would have to come back to Delhi from their respective constituencies for just one-day, the session would conclude on December 18 itself which happens to be a Friday.

The number of sittings hence would be limited to just 21 days. This year being an election year and the new government being sworn in only in May this year, the government had an alibi for restricting the number of days. — TNS

Top

 

New Guv for West Bengal, Punjab still waiting 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11 
Bihar Governor Devenand Konwar will hold additional charge of Governor of West Bengal from December 14. An order to make an interim arrangement, pending regular appointment, was made around 8 p.m. tonight though West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi’s term ends on December 13. 

The tremendous speed shown in case of West Bengal has raised questions as to why such an interim arrangement was not made in case of Punjab where Governor Gen SF Rodrigues’ term ended on November 16. Sources said that in case of the Punjab Governor, political ramifications of him holding additional charge as Administrator of Chandigarh was delaying matters.

While the Home Ministry is keen to have an independent Administrator, the ruling SAD-BJP combine in Punjab has favoured continuation of the existing system, in place since 1984. The matter is expected to be sorted out once the ongoing Parliament session ends in the third week of December.

Top

 

No heritage status for Amritsar: Govt 
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
The government today drew flak in the Lok Sabha for denying heritage city status to Amritsar on grounds that its population was less than one million, the cut off for classifying a city as “mission”. The government also said there was no provision in the Urban Development Ministry to call a city “heritage”. 

Amritsar houses 10.03 lakh people (2001 census), 3000 more than the technical requirement for shifting it from Category B to C, the category which lists 28 cities on the basis of their religious, historical and tourist importance. These cities get greater financial contribution on the patter of 80:20 to develop their infrastructure.

But the government today steered clear of BJP member Navjot Sidhu’s persistent and emotional appeals to not bury the significant issue under the debris of technicalities, and instead spare a thought for the legacy of Amritsar.

Calling the attention of the government to the urgent need to grant “heritage city status” to Amritsar, and classify it as Category C under Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Sidhu recounted the pride of place which Harmandar Sahib enjoyed in the world, with top international leaders making time to offer prayers there, including Queen Elizabeth and the Canadian PM. 

“The SGPC says two lakh people daily offer prayers at the Golden Temple,” Sidhu said, in the House, most members uniting behind him, including the Congress MPs from Punjab.

“The Prime Minister has twice promised heritage status to Amritsar,” said the Amritsar MP, beseeching the PM to honour his word. 

“Can we negate the history of Amritsar, the fact that it houses the temporal seat of Sikh religion, it is a birthplace of Luv and Kush; it is a historical treasure?” Sidhu asked. He rued the fact that while Lahore is a world heritage site, Amritsar is struggling for heritage tag in India.

The opposition, led by Deputy Leader of the BJP Sushma Swaraj, backed Sidhu’s demands. She requested leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee, whose birthday it was, to gift to the nation the heritage status for Amritsar. Pranab was silent but did not appear opposed to the appeals.

Minister of State for Urban Development Sugata Ray, however, made matters queer when he said there was no provision for declaration of a city as a heritage city under the ministry. 

“Punjab has a balance of Rs 145 crore under the JNNURM. Amritsar can use these funds to take up projects for development of heritage areas,” he said to agitated BJP members, who said they were asking for recognition, not alms.

The House saw a brief disruption on the matter, especially so when Sidhu referred to an urban reform which empowers national steering group under the JNNURM to delete and add cities to Category C, on the basis of suggestions from states. 

Top

 

Who will teach in new varsities? 
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Shortage of faculty to the tune of 20 per cent in Central universities has raised a question mark over the availability of staff for the 30 proposed “world-class” universities. Terming the dearth of faculty as a matter of concern, the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Human Resources Development pointed out that it was doubtful about the availability of faculty in the Central universities.

According to the committee’s report that was laid in the Rajya Sabha a few days ago, out of 8,723 posts, 1,707 are vacant in the existing 24 central universities and institutions. In the newly established University of Allahabad, 216 are vacant out of 538 posts. The Department of Higher Education indicated that vacancies in teaching is “a matter of grave concern” and the situation is prevailing in most institutions, as teaching as a profession had become less attractive vis-ŕ-vis other streams. Among other measures taken by the government to draw youth is to increasing the age of superannuation of teachers from 62 to 65 years in centrally funded institutions.

The committee, however, has rejected the move to increase the age. “Whereas, it will likely extend the tenure of existing faculty members who are at the brink of retirement. And these would not be in a position to introduce innovative ways to teaching,” the report said. The committee has recommended that the department should review its decision for increasing the retirement age. The committee also observed that though many UGC-NET-qualified and doctorate-holders are available, suitable candidates not being available for teaching posts is surprising. “It indicates towards another malaise of sub-standard quality of education, where we have the quantity, but no quality,” the report said.

Top

 

Bloodshed if Vidarbha gets go-ahead, warns Sena
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 11
The Shiv Sena has warned of bloodshed if the supporters of Vidarbha manage to have their way and carve the region out of Maharashtra.

Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, where the state legislature is holding its winter session, party MLA Subash Desai said the Shiv Sena would never agree to the disintegration of Maharashtra.

“The bloodshed by martyrs of the Samyukta Maharashtra movement would not be in vain,” Desai said when asked about his party’s stand on the issue. The Central government’s decision to concede to the demand to carve Telengana out of Andhra Pradesh has given rise to hopes that Vidarbha too would be granted statehood. One of the most backward regions of the country, Vidarbha has hit the headlines for the thousands of farmers who commit suicide every year.

Way back in the 1960s and 1970s when the demand for a separate Vidarbha reached its peak, the Maharashtra government decided to hold the winter session of the state legislature in the region.

However, the demand for a separate Vidarbha has not died down and parties like the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are open to granting statehood to the region.

Even on Thursday, Congress MP from the region like Vilas Muttemwar and Datta Meghe met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and conveyed that Vidarbha be granted statehood.

The BJP in Maharashtra is also in favour of a separate Vidarbha. “The BJP is in favour of smaller states and we certainly support the demand for a separate Vidarbha,” says Eknath Khadse, Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly.

However, the Shiv Sena sounded strident and warned of turmoil in the state. A write up in the party mouthpiece Saamna said the people of Maharashtra would never agree to the dismemberment of the state.

Despite the strong reaction by the proponents of a separate Vidarbha, there is no danger for a public movement in the region. Those backing the new state like businessman and newspaper baron Banwarilal Purohit admit that there is no groundswell of public opinion for a separate Vidarbha at the moment.

Top

 

R’sthan shifts top cop over scam allegations
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, December 11
The state government has shifted Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Rajasthan police MK Devrajan, who is facing a CBI probe in an alleged land scam, to the police training department as the DG.

He will be replaced by additional DG (ACB) Ajit Singh who has been asked to take an additional charge of DG, Anti-Corruption Bureau. The Rajasthan High Court had on Wednesday ordered a CBI probe into the scam involving Devrajan and his wife Beena Devrajan, saying that the state government was at liberty to transfer the IPS officer to any other equivalent post till the investigation was over.

A division bench of Justice KS Chaudhari and Justice RC Gandhi said: “The officer of such a high level is expected not to indulge in greed in such matters. The wife of Devrajan is involved in a fraudulent transaction on the face of it and the matter needs to be investigated by an independent agency.”

The court had also held that till the CBI concludes its probe, it shall be in the interest of justice and fitness of things that respondent MK Devrajan, being working against very important and sensitive post, shall report to the administrative department of the state.

Top

 

Rs 98-cr aid for Assam riot victims
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, December 11
The Assam government today announced Rs 98 crore rehabilitation package for victims of ethnic violence of 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998 lodged in various relief camps in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Baska districts of the state.

The state government informed Assam Assembly that grant worth Rs 60 crore was earmarked to provide Rs 50,000 each to the 11,092 families, which were victims of ethnic violence involving Bodo tribe, Adivasis and religious minority communities. The government will spend Rs 38 crore to provide IAY house to all families.

Thousands of Adivasis were rendered homeless when Bodos attacked their villages in 1993, Similarly, various religious minority communities were affected involving the community and Bodo tribe in 1996. Another two spells of violence rocked the state in 1997 (between Bodos and Adivasis) and between Bodos and religious minorities in 1998.

Even as the state government announced the package in the Assembly today, Opposition Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) walked out of the House in protest terming it inadequate. 

Top

 

Gogoi against Assam’s division
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, December 11
Even as the Centre’s proposal to create a Telengana state has fuelled statehood demands of various ethnic groups, including the Bodo, the Dimasa, the Karbi, the Koch-Rajbongshi, the Assam government today said it was not in favour of further division of the state.

In response to a motion initiated by the Bodo People’s Front (BPF), which is the only coalition partner of the ruling Congress, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi informed the Assam Assembly that though there had been demands for creation of separate states by various ethnic communities, the state government did not favour further division of the state and wished all communities would live together at peace.

“We are for overall development of all communities in the state and hope all of them will aspire to live together. We don’t favour creation of any more state in response to statehood demand of various ethnic groups”, Gogoi said.

Twelve legislators of the BPF, which is a political party formed by former members of the now disbanded militant group Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) after signing of the Bodo Peace Accord I 2003, today revived their old demand for a separate “Bodoland” out of Assam and wanted the state government to clarify its stand.

BPF leader Chandan Brahma, who is also the Minister of Transport and Rural Development in Assam, stated in the House that there was no alternative to Bodoland after the Centre’s move to create a Telengana state.

Top

 

GJM activists begin indefinite hunger strike
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, December 11 
Enthused by the success of Telengana agitators, over 120 workers and supporters of the Gorkha Janmurti Morcha (GJM) today began an indefinite hunger strike in four batches in Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Siliguri. Hundreds of visitors scrambled to leave the tourist resort of Darjeeling today as pro-Gorkhaland activists took out rallies.

Both the ruling Congress and Trinamool Congress and several other organisations have opposed bifurcation of West Bengal. CPM and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee have also shot down the demand. Trinamool supremo and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, said that the state government should give more rights and sanction larger funds to the hill council.

The Darjeeling issue also came up in the state assembly when both the ruling and Opposition parties resolved that bifurcation of the state would not be allowed. Some social welfare organisations and the Amra Bangali group have also decided to launch agitation in Darjeeling against the GJM’s demand.

The GJM is demanding a separate Gorkhaland including Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, Siliguri and large areas in Jalpaiguri and the Duars. The GJM leadership led by Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh today met Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the national capital and reiterated their demand. 

In Kolkata, CPM state committee secretary Biman Bose said since a tripartite meeting had been proposed in Delhi, the GJM’s decision to begin an indefinite fast was mischievous. He appealed to the GJM leadership to call off the hunger strike and withdraw the decision to launch a larger agitation in the hills.

Meanwhile, fresh violence erupted in the Jangalmahal area of West Midnapore today after the gunning down of two persons by Maoists. Supporters of the Anti-Joint Action People’s Committee and Maoists groups decided to observe a 24-hour bandh in Purulia, Bankura and Midnapore districts against police atrocities. 

Maya wants trifurcation of UP  
UCKNOW:
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati said on Friday that she is for creation of independent states of Bundelkhand and Harit Pradesh out of an “unmanageable Uttar Pradesh”. “I have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to give us clearance for creating the two independent states,” Mayawati told a hurriedly convened press conference here in the evening. “I was always in favour of smaller states as they are much simpler to govern,” she said. - PTI

Top

 

Gyanendra attends wedding in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, December 11
Nepal's former King Gyanendra Shah attended a marriage of the son of a minister in the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa last night.

The bride, Rajasree Bhanja Deo, and her father, Praveen Chandra Bhanja Deo of the erstwhile Mayurbhanj royal family, have family bonds with the former king.

Shah blessed the newly married couple, Rajasree Bhanja Deo and Jaisingh Tahore, scion of the erstwhile Jhabua royal family in Madhya Pradesh.

The Chief Minister met the former Nepal king at the marriage reception.

Though the former Nepal king was scheduled to visit the Sun Temple at Konark on December 9, he did not as President Pratibha Singh Patil's was there that day. 
— PTI 

Top

 
BRIEFLY

NSG commandos donate blood
New Delhi :
Commandos of the elite National Security Guard (NSG) today donated about 200 units of blood at donation camp organised by the NSG. Applauding the effort, Director-General, NSG, N.P.S. Aulakh said in addition to the combat skills which are tested during crisis, such voluntary acts re-imposes the faith of society in the cammandos. 

NSG commandos donate blood
New Delhi:
Commandos of the elite National Security Guard (NSG) today donated about 200 units of blood at donation camp organised by the NSG. Applauding the effort, Director-General, NSG, N.P.S. Aulakh said in addition to the combat skills which are tested during crisis, such voluntary acts re-imposes the faith of society in the cammandos. 

Top

 





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |